Judy posted so many wonderful photos of our girls weekend that I'm not going to repeat any of them here. There are a few more I'd like to share with you though. First, this could be shocking for some of you - those of you who are tidy, neat, and abhore clutter close your eyes! This is a photo i took of my studio workspace right before I walked out door to teach the workshop. I had been creating artwork all week for my class at quite a zealous pace, and hadn't had time to do clean up. I will clean it up today (or tomorrow, or soon) but this is often the state of my space . I am an extremely messy artist. Girls just gotta have fun, and fun and silliness the three of us had until late into the evening both Friday and Saturday night. Here is a photo of Judy and I to prove I'm telling the truth. Diane's husband mentioned several times that from across the house he could hear loud peals of laughter quite consistenly. Diane shot this picture of me in the midst of a laughing fit. I love this photo, I love to see the joy and happiness i was feeling; a good one to pull out when i'm not feeling so joyful.
All too soon it was time to go back to my regular life, carrying with me a heart full of warm memories of the women I'd met in the class, the time spent with my 2 dear friends Judy and Diane, and the beautiful energy of love that warmed us all the whole weekend long.
These last two small photos I took with the camera pointed out the window while driving home.
During class, in the moments when all the students were busy creating and didn't need me, i worked on my own piece. I put the finishing touches on her that evening when Diane, Judy, and I were sitting around the studio table. Diane asked if we'd like to participate in an exercise, all we needed was a piece of art we had created. We were both game; here were the rules: we were to write stream of consciousness for one to two full pages, not letting the pen stop, just letting any words that came to our head when we looked at our art flow onto the page. After that, we underline words or phrases that stand out . The last step is writing those words and phrases on a fresh sheet of paper. It was a powerful exercise for me. I plan to do this process with each piece of new artwork I create, and attach those final words from step #3 to the art. Below the artwork are the words i ended up with, unaltered in any way. For a more detailed image of the art, click on the photo.
I'm home from teaching the Feminine Icon class in Portland and am still basking in the afterglow of the bright and creative energy that filled the studio the entire day. It's impossible to put into words what a joy it was to experience this room full of women radiate creativity and comroderie as they worked on being loose and free, playful, and remaining open to their creative selves while resisting the urge to judge, compare, or over-think their personal creative process or art. Each of these women were a delight to spend time with which made the experience rich for all of us. Look at the glow on their faces; each piece of artwork they created was inspired, original, and positively amazing! For me, the process of teaching the class was energizing and empowering. I left knowing that I would like to continue to teach more collage classes around the feminine icon image. It is empowering for a woman to discover or maybe just remember, that all she ever needs to create original and beautiful art from heart is as close as her hands and her breath. Thank you to all my students and thank you Diane for inviting me to come and teach in the unique environment you have created for women and art making. Judy Wise has posted several additional photos on her blog and has written about her experience and impressions of the class; I hope you'll pop over and take a peek. Here are my photos from the day. I'm sorry that I don't have a name next to each student, my memory is much better with visuals than names and numbers. Tomorrow I will write more about the weekend and share photos.
For some odd reason I can't remember, I got a side shot of Edina Tien working (she's the dark haired woman on the top right with the black shirt) and no photo of her artwork in progress, so here it is, on the left; another beautiful piece.
I stayed up till midnight getting supplies and packets together (why do i wait until the last minute for these things?), and all I have left to do is write the handout, pack my personal belongings, load the car and take off. I expect and hope for a relaxing drive down the 5 to Portland, but you never know what traffic will be like. I will be heading over to my dear friend Judy Wise's house, I can't wait to see her studio and garden and just be there in the place she spends so much of her time. If I can stay on task, Judy, I should be on the road by 11:00. Later in the afternoon, we'll head on over to our amazing and beloved friend Diane Havnen-Smith, who hosts these workshops in her home studio. This woman is fireball of energy; I'm in awe of the way she can juggle 10 balls in the air at once and make it look so easy. Judy, Diane, and I will celebrate a girls weekend, staying up late, sipping wine, eating chocolate, while baring our souls and laughing hard. I feel so blessed to have such creative, strong, and open women in my life. I'll write about the class when I get back and hopefully have some photos to post. So many of my dear women friends are experiencing the darkness and melancholy of winter right now; to you I send love and light as I hold you brightly in my heart.
"May the Lord of Love protect us. May the Lord of Love nourish us. May the Lord of Love strengthen us. May we realize the Lord of Love. May we live with love for all. May we live in peace with all. OM Shanti Shanti Shanti".
My muse let me play here, just like I had hoped for. Not my typical style but lots of fun and I learned a lot. One of the biggest lessons I learned, less is often more. There are so many layers of paper under this collage you wouldn't believe it. Just when I thought I was 'getting there', I stood back (as I do peridically) and the whole thing felt as busy as a subway at rush hour, my message completely lost in the rumpus. Another lesson I learned; take scans of the process periodically. The scan saved me. I glued some pieces of it on the portions of the face that I detested and it worked like a charm. I'm not a realistic drawer, and when I tried to emulate the lips and shading of my dear friend Misty Mawn, it was disasterous. Like countless others, I absolutely LOVE Misty's work and wish I could paint just like she does. But I can't; I paint just like I do. (I still want you to teach me some painting skills though, Misty :-). Another lesson I learned; follow my own muse when working intuitively, trying to create from anything other than my inner self won't be satisfying or truly sucessful. That point is one I want to emphasize strongly in my class. I will share some techniques, things I've picked up along the way, but there are no hard and fast rules - if you simply follow your heart you'll be going the right direction.
I'm using different techniques for each collage I'm doing; this one feels very simple but it also felt finished so I stopped. To get a more detailed view, click on the picture. Tomorrow I hope the muse leads me to do one that contains more pieces, is a bit funkier, and is less representational. We'll see....
I'm working on class samples for the Feminine Icon workshop I'm teaching next weekend in Portland. Here is one I finished today, a collage I created on a child's cardboard puzzle. Click on the photo to get a larger version.
"Under the shade of your tresses, how softly slept my heart, intoxicated and lovely, so peaceful and so free..." Rumi
I should be used it by now, having lived in the pacific northwest for the past 30 years. Winters are generally gray with buckets of rain; good for the moss, mold, and mushrooms as well as other things that don't start with the letter 'm'. The past couple days I've felt as gray as the outside sky, some call it blue, for me it's gray; no black or white, only gray. My saving grace is working in my studio creating. When I finally could drag myself out of bed and drag myself into the studio late afternoon, kicking and screaming, within a few hours the gray inside had turned into a hundred glowing rainbow hues, and my heart was singing again. During a mood like this, what I create is fairly unimportant; it's the act of creating that brings me back to myself. A spiritual teacher I once had, said during the difficult times when we feel we just can't cope with our circumstances, all we have to do is stand on the empty spiritual road, and wait for the bus of grace to run over us. I love that analogy.
So after several steaming cups of hot tea, this is what I created; a commissoned piece for a woman who loves fairies; I hope she likes it. You can click on the image to get more detail.